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Student Life

The Best Streaming Device Options for College Students

January 8, 2021

Studying can be grueling. One sure-fire way to escape your frazzled brain is a few good hours of binge-watching your favorite series.

Many students make do using their laptop, tablet or even just their phone for watching TV. But, without breaking the bank, it’s possible to make this all-important down-time a little more comfortable.

To upgrade your setup in a worthwhile way, there are a few things to consider.

We’ve compiled a list of recommended streaming devices based on price, quality and usability features. 

Apple 4K

With a starting price of $179, the new Apple TV 4K might be a little unnecessarily pricey for your budget, unless the added features make it worth your while. Yes, you can get Airplay or Apple TV+ on other hardware, but this latest updated software allows for linking up to your PlayStation and Xbox controllers for an all-in-one entertainment device.

Between the Apple Arcade game streaming service and the vast extent of cloud gaming options, if you’re an Apple fan, this may be the most solid system choice moving forward. Certainly, when it comes to the number of titles available through one device, it’s unparalleled. In addition, for cable-powered apps it features a zero sign-on setup.

If you’re not an Apple lover, check out the best value-for-money Android TV boxes

NVIDIA Shield TV 4K

Before we get much more budget-friendly, let’s talk about the NVIDIA Shield TV 4K HDR streaming media player. This device will set you back around $200 and yes, its fantastic quality – but for such a hefty price tag you have to ask yourself, do you really need it? Unless you are a hardcore gamer and/or have a 4K TV, probably not. That said, it is arguably the best in its class – fast, voice-control enabled and with superior Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos surround sound. If quality is your thing and you can afford it, you won’t regret it.

Amazon 4K Fire TV Stick

This little Amazon Fire TV stick was certainly designed with ease of use in mind. With a recommended retail price of $62.97, this remote bundle comes with a new wi-fi antenna for optimized 4K Ultra HD streaming. That, added to its Alexa voice command capabilities, makes for a superior streaming experience.

Roku Streaming Stick

If you’re not much of a gamer and you really need a bargain, then this super affordable streaming option might be your best bet. The Roku Streaming Stick currently comes in at just $29.40 and is easily portable to boot. With supported internet services that include Netflix, HBO, Prime Video, Hulu with Live TV, Apple TV, Showtime, The Roku Channel, and Google Play, it’s a great all-rounder as well as Alexa voice-control friendly.

Micca Speck G2 1080 Portable Digital Media Player

The Micca Speck G2 is an affordable choice that has a portable-friendly design and is powerful enough to stream whatever you’re into. Supporting a wide range of connections and files, this device comes with a car power adapter and although not voice control enabled, has a full function remote control. For anyone worried about cost, at just $37.99 this little streamer might be all you need. 

Matricom G-Box Q (v3) Android Media Mini PC

With an Android OS, the Matricom G-Box Q² is well worth a mention. With a sleek, portable design, this fast-processing device is the closest thing to a PC that’s all play. Unlike many streaming devices, this is a full android computer designed for your living room, that is free from any restrictions. You can install and customize all your favorite apps and it also supports Amazon Prime video access. Priced at $77, it’s a lot for your money.

Final thoughts

These are just some of the streaming device options available and it’s well worth doing your homework before making your purchase. Not only do the prices differ considerably, but both the quality and applications for use do too, and it will pay off if you research the options based on your personal preferences. Happy streaming!

Student Life

Testimonial: Protect Your Stuff This Semester With Renters Insurance

January 4, 2021

College might feel like one big protective bubble. As much as people like to think that it will never happen to them, the reality is that crime can affect anybody.

Closed-in environments, like college housing units and apartment complexes, are often especially targeted by thieves. In fact, 30,000 or more burglaries related to college students and campuses are reported each year, according to the U.S. Department of Education Campus Safety and Security.

However, there are certain measures one can take to ensure peace of mind about personal belongings staying safe. One of those measures is protecting your stuff with renters insurance, which came in handy for a student at San Francisco State University when her laptop was stolen from her dorm room.

Eyu first learned about GradGuard’s Renters Insurance when she started school at SFSU. Based on the affordability for college students like her, she purchased a policy while living in the dorms on campus.

One day, when she went to the bathroom, she left her dorm room door cracked open. Her laptop was on her bed before she left, and when she returned, it was gone. Eyu filed a police report for the theft and then called GradGuard to file a claim.

She was reimbursed for her laptop and was able to purchase a new one.

“I learned a lot from this situation,” Eyu said. “I can’t afford to pay for another laptop. So if it wasn’t for that insurance, I don’t know… I probably would have never had my laptop.”

Don’t be a victim to theft! Protect your stuff for college, including your laptop, bike, and backpack, with GradGuard’s Renters Insurance.

Student Life

Don’t Rely on College Refunds: Why Tuition Insurance is Important

January 4, 2021

This year has left many individuals uncertain what their academic futures will look like. With COVID forcing colleges and universities to change their business tactics, many students are finding it nearly impossible to get tuition refunds if they are forced to withdraw from school.


How can you protect your investment in your education and get a full refund for your college tuition?

Tuition insurance is a great way to keep your finances secure in a time of crisis. Here’s a guide to help you understand tuition insurance and how it could benefit you.


How COVID has Affected Refund Policies


Most colleges and universities offer a refund policy allowing you to get your money back after deciding to withdraw from school. This usually applies only to the first five weeks of college. However, most schools do not refund 100% of the money you paid to attend.


COVID has affected college life in many ways as most students shift to online classes. Many institutions are continuing to charge room and board, even while students study from home. Some classes also lack certain classroom fundamentals. This includes mock trials, clinical experiences, and more.


Some colleges have found themselves unable to give refunds at all. The virus has brought many new changes that universities aren’t sure how to cope with; some schools are citing a lack of funding as a reason to hold onto college tuition. Due to this lack of funding, among other issues that universities are facing with the virus, you may have a hard time getting a refund.


What That Means for You

If you decide to attend college or a university in the near future and decide to withdraw yourself, you may be out of luck when trying to get a refund. Some students have taken their universities to court over the matter. Many cases are still pending and waiting for a resolution. 


Not only will you be paying for things you won’t actually receive, such as room and board, but you may not even get your money back after dropping out. At most, you may receive a small fraction of what you paid. 


What is Tuition Insurance?


Are you considering applying for college in the coming year? If so, then you should strongly consider getting tuition insurance for yourself. This will help you protect your money in case you decide not to follow through with your education.


Tuition insurance, otherwise known as tuition refund insurance, is exactly what it sounds like; it protects you from being denied a tuition refund after withdrawing from school. The reasoning behind your withdrawal, however, must be due to your medical or mental state. For example, if you received a serious injury that prevents you from attending your classes, then you can get your tuition funds back with tuition insurance.


Your reimbursement may depend on the type of coverage you apply for. This means that you are not guaranteed a 100% refund just because you have tuition insurance; however, it is better to receive a percentage of your tuition because of your insurance than to be denied any refund.


Tuition insurance commonly covers one academic term. However, you are able to purchase additional insurance policies in order to protect yourself throughout your academic career. 


The Benefits of Tuition Insurance


Tuition insurance can grant you peace of mind when it comes to paying for your education. You can know that your investment in your education is safe and that if the worst happens, you can get your money refunded. 


If you are wondering whether or not tuition insurance is right for you, there are a couple of things you can consider.


First off, consider the overall cost of your tuition. Is the institution you are attending particularly expensive? If so, then tuition insurance can greatly ease your mind and is a great way to protect your investment.


If you have a chronic illness or severe mental illness or disability that may make it hard for you to attend college, then tuition insurance is a great way to protect yourself. The last thing you want is to enter into your institution and realize you cannot continue due to your physical or mental health.


With COVID as a serious threat to your physical health, you should strongly consider tuition insurance in case you do contract the virus. This disease can leave you bedridden for weeks, which would make you incapable of completing your schoolwork and attending your classes even if they are online.


How to Get Tuition Insurance


If you are considering tuition insurance, you will need to apply for coverage before beginning the academic year. You are not required to purchase tuition insurance for the entirety of your academic career, so choose your plan and coverage wisely.


There are many different plans that you can choose from, so do your research before settling on a plan. Your school likely offers various forms of tuition insurance, so don’t hesitate to look and see what plans they are offering as well. 


Protect Yourself and Your Money


There’s no need to worry about where your money is going when it comes to your college tuition. With tuition insurance, you can keep your assets safe and get a college refund without being denied by your university.


Are you considering attending a university in the near future but are concerned about needing to have your tuition refunded?


We’re here to help. Contact us with any questions or concerns you have about our tuition insurance and continue reading our blog for more helpful information.

Student Life

7 Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet in College

December 31, 2020

The internet is flooded with cute, fluffy animals and the temptation to get a pet of your very own while at college can be tough to resist. But is it a good idea?

Here are seven important questions to ask yourself before adding a furry roommate to your new digs.

1. Are you even allowed to have a pet?

A study showed that college students who spent just 10 minutes enjoyed reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. A pet can definitely help if you’re dealing with mental health conditions. However, before getting a pet, consider whether you have the appropriate environment for it, starting with whether you would even be one. Most college dorms do not allow pets, and any that do have strict restrictions as to what types or sizes are permitted. If you live off campus, you need to check with your landlord. Many landlords are equally strict, and even if they do allow pets, many charge additional fees, so get the low down. And, if you’re wondering whether concealing a pet might be a good option, the answer is no! Pets are cute, but you have your whole life to enjoy pet ownership and it’s not worth losing your lease over.

2. Do you have the space?

Even if your dorm or apartment is ‘pet-friendly’, that doesn’t automatically make it an ideal environment in which to house and adequately care for a pet. At college, it’s common to get accustomed to limited space, but animals aren’t always so adaptive. Some dog breeds would be immediately out of the question and even cats might not have enough space to feel comfortable. If you are really determined to get a pet but have little space, you should consider sticking to a pet that is happy in a cage or bowl.

3. Do you have the time to care for a pet?

The amount of daily care that pets needs can differ greatly – cats can be somewhat self-sufficient, whereas dogs need daily walks, play times, baths etc. But even cats and most other pets also require regular attention, veterinary appointments and of course, daily feeding. This might be fine until your friends ask you to stay out late or go on a fun road-trip.

Having a pet means considering their needs every day and planning around them. It’s a big commitment, and the time you can devote to them is an important consideration when deciding if you are ready for pet-ownership.

4. Are your roommates okay with it?

It’s best to be thorough when discussing your pet plans with your roommates. Whilst they may seem fine with it initially, the realities of sharing a property with an animal might wear a bit thin. Dogs bark in the night. Puppies mess on the floor. Pets take tolerance.

Discuss the possibilities upfront, as well as any expectations for sharing the care of the new family member. It’s also important to prepare yourself for being respectful as a pet owner with another roommate. You may need to ensure that your pet does not go into their room, and that you will foot the bill if your pet pees on, chews or somehow destroys something belonging to them.

5. Can you afford to support a pet?

College life usually means living on a budget. Whilst you may already have some budgetary sacrifices in mind to afford some cat food, the costs don’t end there. As well as food, there are other costs such as grooming needs and general vet care. Vaccinations and chipping bills all add up – and that’s not taking into consideration any emergency expenses.

Unexpected vet bills can crop up at any time due to accident or illness and these can be extremely expensive for anyone on a budget.

6. What will you do with your pet during college breaks?

If your family lives close enough to school that you will drive home, then it’s possible that you could take your pet home with you during school breaks – so long as your family agrees! Otherwise, school breaks could pose a problem. Unless you plan on staying at college through your breaks, you’ll need to either arrange care or potentially expensive travel arrangements for your pet. School breaks are a time for de-stressing and having to worry about a pet could significantly impede your ability to relax and enjoy some downtime.

7. What kind of pet will you get?

If you are determined to get a pet, then at least carefully consider what kind to get based on the above points, as well as some other considerations. For example, temperament, shedding and allergy/hygiene considerations must be placed above their cuteness factor. Depending on what you get, this could be your pet for many years to come. Remember, a dog may be for life and not just for Christmas, but a pet is also for life, and not just for college!

Adulting Student Life

Do College Students Need Renters Insurance or Does a Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover Them?

December 28, 2020

There are 17 million students enrolled in American undergraduate degree programs. While a small portion of these students continue to live at home, the majority live in campus housing or in off-site housing near their institutions during the academic year. 

Planning for college housing can be an intensive process. Schools, students, and their families worry about roommates, transportation, and dozens of other factors in hopes of creating the best possible living and learning environments. Too often, though, one critical concern falls through the cracks: insurance coverage.

But aren’t college students covered by their families’ homeowners policies? Do separate renters insurance policies offer enough extra protections to be worthwhile? Here are the facts.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover College Students? 

“Will my parents’ homeowners insurance cover me in college?” is not a question that many students think to ask. Most understandably assume that the answer is “of course,” particularly if they intend to live in dorms or other on-campus housing. But how accurate is this assumption?

A survey of the top 20 insurance providers shows that only 13 include coverage for college students in their homeowners’ policies. Among these:

  • Some policies provide only liability coverage with no protections for personal property
  • Some policies provide coverage for students in dorms but not for students living in apartments or off-campus housing 
  • Some policies offer reduced protections or coverage for students living away from home
  • Deductibles are often higher for situations where the affected family member is a college student living away from home
  • Factors such as where the college is located and campus crime rates can affect coverage, leading to unexpected coverage gaps

College student coverage can vary widely between insurers and between policies from the same insurer. In almost every case, coverage for students at school is different than for the rest of the family or for the student while they are at home.

Families must review their policies carefully to determine what protections they offer. 

The Pros and Cons of Relying on Homeowners Insurance  

Do you have a homeowners’ policy that offers protections for college students? If so, there are many benefits of taking advantage of that coverage rather than buying a separate renters policy for your student. 

  • You don’t have to pay extra for a second policy 
  • There will be no confusion over which policy applies in the event that you need to make a claim
  • You continue to enjoy coverage with a provider and policy you are familiar with and trust 
  • If you have already made payments toward your deductible, they will reduce your out-of-pocket costs in future claims

Relying on your homeowners’ policy can have disadvantages as well, however. 

  • Your policy may not offer the extent of coverage that you need in the event of theft or other losses
  • You may face a separate and higher deductible for incidents involving your student 
  • You may run into unexpected and expensive coverage gaps depending on the circumstances
  • Filing and documenting claims may be challenging if your student is going to college far away but the policy is in your name

How much coverage you need and whether or not your existing policy is enough depends largely on your personal circumstances. 

Is Renters Insurance for College Kids Worth It?

Purchasing renters insurance for college students has its own pros and cons. It can be beneficial in that:

  • It tends to fully cover personal property, liability, and living expenses, giving you peace of mind 
  • Your coverage limits will be clearly spelled out, preventing gaps and unwelcome surprises
  • You may be able to secure a low-cost policy if your students’ roommates and their families chip in as well
  • Students can file claims and documentation themselves in the event of an incident 
  • Co-purchasing a policy with your student can teach them key life skills
  • Dual coverage under renters and homeowners policies ensures you are fully covered no matter what

But separate renters policies for students are not without their drawbacks.

  • They add extra costs to already-expensive undergraduate educations
  • They may need to be replaced or adjusted each time your students’ living situation or roommates change
  • Claims made by your students’ roommates show up in your insurance claim history which can be detrimental if there are large or numerous claims
  • You may need to juggle claims between the renters and homeowners policies if something happens 
  • Buying a policy that covers your student can be pricey depending on where your student lives while in school

While it can be a relief to have your coverage spelled out in a separate policy and know that you will be covered, it is important to weigh the costs and benefits to determine how valuable such a policy will actually be for you. 

How to Make the Most of Your Coverage

There are several steps that students and their families can take to help them decide what coverage they need. These steps will also enable them to make the most of their coverage, whether they rely on their homeowners’ policy or purchase renters insurance. 

Make an Inventory

Making an inventory of everything your student will take to college with them serves several purposes. First, it helps you assess the types of items you need coverage for and the total value of coverage that you need. This makes it easier to review your existing policy and evaluate how adequate its coverage is. 

If you choose to buy a new policy, it will also help you choose the right level of coverage there.  

Take Basic Safety Precautions 

Take a few minutes to review safety tips and practices with your student when they move into their student housing each semester. Make sure that:

  • Window and door locks are in proper working order
  • Lighting and other safety features are in proper working order
  • Secondary locks such as padlocks or bike locks are available to safeguard high-cost items 

These small steps can significantly reduce the likelihood of theft and loss no matter what type of coverage you have. 

Choosing With Confidence

Once you know what level of coverage you need and how much your homeowners’ policy covers, you’ll be able to confidently decide if renters insurance is right for you. If it is, let us help you find the policy and coverage you need today. 

Student Life

How to Manage Your Time While Studying Online

December 26, 2020

Online learning definitely has its perks, including no commuting, flexibility, and studying at your own pace . But since there’s little to no authority, the responsibility of sticking to your schoolwork is solely yours. You can only make it work with proper management skills.

If you’re an online scholar and find it hard to manage your time, this piece is for you. Here are eight tips on time management for learners pursuing online courses.

Designate Space for All Your Learning Tasks

A common challenge online students encounter is finding a suitable place for studying, classes, and group discussions. As a result, allocating time for studying and actually focusing can be difficult. You need a conducive environment for studying- whether in the house, at a café, or even local library.

Study space will help develop the proper mindset and actually focus. Also, ensure that you have the required software, a strong internet connection and power outlets nearby.

Don’t forget these important features of your study space:

  • Well lit
  • Clutter-free
  • Comfortable
  • Away from noise or disturbances

Plan Your Week Ahead

The flexibility that comes with online studying also bears a cost. If you are not disciplined, you won’t accomplish anything. Your regular schedule outside of schoolwork can take the majority of your days if you let it. That’s why you need to take charge of your commitments by planning. Set aside time ahead for reading, participating in group discussions, and tackling assignments.

If you need help, such as from a college essay editor, engage one early not to miss a deadline. Also, go through your schoolwork and figure out how you can prioritize. Some tasks will require more time, while others won’t. You’ll make better use of your time if you assess your syllabus to determine when you will work on particular tasks.

Use a planner and write down things like:

  • Assignment deadlines: paper drafts and submission copies
  • Virtual classes and meetups with educators and academic counselors
  • Other academic activities: group discussions, networking meetups, etc.

Devise a Routine Using a Schedule

When it comes to online learning, there’s usually no such thing as a routine. This freedom that comes with studying asynchronously online can sometimes lead to procrastination and laziness. Therefore, it falls upon you to develop a daily routine for tackling assignments and studying for your units. Start with making a daily schedule and to-do list and try to be consistent about following it.

Break Up Your Coursework

Some courses and even assignment might seem intimidating at first glance. And, you may be hard-pressed when scheduling them within your tight schedule. An excellent tip to managing your time and accomplishing things is to break up your coursework. Check what you’ve got to cover and break it down into sizeable parts that you can cover at different times.

Come Up with a Work-Life-Study Balance

You need to formulate an excellent work-study program, especially if you’ve got to attend online learning sessions and still show up at work. To develop a well-balanced plan that keeps you from wearing down, arrange your time to focus on these three essentials- school, job, and your personal life.

Go for a simple schedule that is easy to follow. And remember to pay utmost attention to every area of life at each moment.

Overcome the Urge to Multitask

Refrain from multitasking when studying online. Often, doing this undermines your productivity, making the learning process ineffective. Always focus on a single study activity at any given moment, for example, revising for a test, reading a section in a book, or attending a Skype appointment.

How do you plan your undertakings to avoid multitasking? To overcome this habit, many people recommend that you plan your activities according to importance. The first 3 or 4 time-sensitive and important tasks should come at the top of your list. Feel free to use various project management tools to enhance your focus.

Get Enough Rest & Start Your Day Early

Do you get enough rest? Do you wake up early? As a student, you need always to be well-rested and, better yet, an early riser to make the most out of your academic pursuits. How can you achieve both of these? To get enough rest and still wake up early, you must get to bed early and ensure that you get some quality sleep.

Today, many online programs allow for much flexibility, making it quite easy to extend your day well into the night to accommodate various activities. While this might seem ideal initially, this habit often wears down even the most hardworking of learners. Without enough rest, your memory and learning capabilities are undermined.

Stay ahead of your studies by getting a full night’s sleep throughout your online course. Try formulating a sleeping schedule that allows you to sleep for at least 8 hours each night and wake up around the same time each day.

Figure Out What Distracts You & Avoid it

What takes your attention when it’s study time? Whether it’s entertainment, social media, or a neighborhood gossip site, it’s best to identify and address it. Distractions tend to undermine the learning process by taking up your focus. As such, you can miss out on important concepts, making you waste a lot of time to understand.

If your distractions are on the internet, you could use website blockers such as KeepMeOut. Such tools will help you stay off social media or other platforms during study time.

Taking an online course remains an excellent idea for anyone who wishes to further their education. To make sure the process is as beneficial as possible, one must take command of the learning process right from the start. The tips in this article will go a long way in ensuring that your studying is effective.

Safety Student Life

Protecting Your Apartment From Winter Weather

December 21, 2020

Snow may look great outside your home, but you should make sure you know how to deal with it if it ever gets out of control or threatens your safety.

Here are a few quick tips to make sure you’re safe at home for the rest of the winter, especially if there’s a storm:

One basic way to protect your home or apartment from snow is shoveling. Buy a medium-sized shovel and make sure that walkways and sidewalks are completely clear after a storm. Shoveling helps you and your neighbors stay safe from black ice and other post-snowstorm dangers. It’s also a smart idea to use salt on any walkways to help melt ice quickly. As always, be careful while you’re out there clearing things up! Inside, make sure to have welcome mats so everyone can clean off their boots before entering, and eliminate tracking water into the house that could lead to slips and falls. You don’t want to be liable for any injuries at home!

Another way to keep your place safe and sound during a storm is by checking up on the heat. During a storm, there’s always a chance that you may lose power. Be sure to keep the heat running—keep yourself and your roommates warm just in case! If your heat does not appear to be working properly, be sure to talk to your landlord ASAP—don’t get stuck in the cold during a storm.

One thing tenants may forget about is ice buildup in unusual places. For example, ice can freeze and accumulate at a rapid rate in your downspout or other exposed pipes. If enough snow builds up in the pipes, there could be disastrous results. Make sure to check with neighbors, roommates and landlords to be sure that your pipes stay ice-free, especially after a big blizzard.

An important snow safety tip for your apartment is be prepared. If a big snowstorm is in the future, make sure you’ve taken care of everything ahead of time at home. Be sure to keep blankets and flashlights out in the open in case your heat or power goes out. If it looks like a blizzard could last for days at a time, stock up on plenty of food and household essentials like soap and toilet paper, just in case you won’t be able to get to the grocery store for while. If you have a car, put it in the garage or an area where it won’t get snowed in.

If you’re not sure about the state of your apartment for the rest of the winter, talk to your landlord to discuss any concerns. It’s important that you’re 100% sure your place will be safe during a storm or blizzard—peace of mind is key during the wintertime. Also, consider renters insurance to help cover your personal belongings and protect what’s important in your home in the event of an accident.

Stay safe for the rest of the winter! Spring is just around the corner!

This article was originally published in 2012 and has since been updated.

Student Life

11 Tips to Maximize Your College Experience

December 15, 2020

Headed off to college? That means it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get the most out of your college experience (and we don’t mean just friends, football games, and all-nighters). The goal is to graduate from college in a way that’s life-changing. Here are eleven tips to get started. 

1. Meaningfully participate in extracurricular activities

The students who get the most of their college experience are the ones who get involved in ways that spark their interest and passion. This doesn’t just mean sports but also includes music, theater, leadership, volunteering, or other activities. If you’re planning on retiring from your primary high school skill, choose a new one before you get to college. 

2. Live on campus 

You have the rest of your life to live off campus. When you live on campus, you put yourself right in the middle of the action and energy of college. Let other people fight over electricity bills and the dishes. 

3. Leave your car at home. 

If you live on campus, it’s easier to leave your car at home. Not only does it save you a few thousand dollars a year on insurance and maintenance, but you also don’t have to worry about finding parking on campus or its corresponding fees, like a parking ticket. 

4. Get a bike

A bike is a great college alternative to a car. You save time and money because you can bike up to your classes, park, and lock. Plus it’s a great way to avoid that Freshman Fifteen! 

5. Take small classes

Do what you can to take small classes. This might mean moving to advanced classes sooner or taking less-popular majors. If you are only an observer in your classes instead of an active participant, you’ll miss out on the full college experience.

6. Learn from the great professors

Find out who the life-changing professors are and take the classes they teach. Look on professor review websites or ask upperclassmen. Taking classes from outstanding professors who are passionate about their subjects can have a huge impact on your life. 

7. Continue to apply for financial aid. 

While most financial aid is given to first-year students, there is typically money withheld for second year and beyond. Once you choose your major, ask professors about potential scholarships, and keep applying for private aid.

8. Try to only work a job during vacation and on weekends. 

If possible, don’t work more than 10-12 hours a week during the semester. Minimize the time spent at a job so you can maximize the time focused on schoolwork and college activities. 

9. Take classes that prepare you for life. 

By taking classes like art history, accounting, and computer coding, you’ll be at home in museums, prepared with the basics to run your own business, and have a foundational understanding of web development. College is the last time you can indulge in extensive education without also juggling a full-time job.

10. Get bilingual by graduation. 

Knowing two (or more languages) makes you more hireable, putting you ahead of the average applicant. Spend a semester and a summer abroad, or even a whole year, to learn a language.

11. Fill out the FAFSA each year. 

Many students will do all they can to qualify for financial aid before they go to college. But many don’t realize their parents need to complete the FAFSA every October. 

College is a great opportunity to learn new things and have life-changing experiences. Make the most of it with these tips! What else have you done to maximize your experience in college?

Adulting Student Life

Budgeting 101 For College Students

December 10, 2020

If you’re like many other college students, the idea of budgeting may seem a little difficult to think about. Some students are easily able to get the things they need throughout their time in college, while others may be restricted to tight budgets or wonder how they will ever make it through.

Here are a few suggestions for those who are looking for budget-friendly ways to navigate through college that may even save a few dollars along the way.

Determine your needs versus wants 

Part of being financially responsible and developing money-conscious habits is knowing the difference between your wants and your needs. It’s human nature to want to have the best of the best — whether it’s clothes, shoes, or the newest tech gadgets. Although it is nice to have finer things, as a college student you will soon realize that these may be things you really want but don’t need. You might also find that eating out and socializing with friends can add up quickly. If you have an income through a part-time job or paid internship, you could probably afford to set aside some “fun money” so you can treat yourself within reason!

Plan and write out your expenses

Growing up, you may have seen your parents making a list of bills or other things they need to prioritize in the near future. This is an excellent habit to start on your own as a college student and use once you have started your career as well. As often as you need to, take a look at your most common expenses and bills and write them down. Have a description of what they are and how much you will need to pay for them. By doing this, you’ll be able to see what needs to be taken care of before you can put money away for savings or splurge. A budgeting app like Mint or You Need a Budget may also be helpful. 

Use discounts and free services as often as you can 

We can all appreciate discounts and free stuff! As a college student, you should always be on the lookout for good deals! This video shares some student benefits you might not know about. You might be surprised how far your student ID could take you — from free tickets to sporting events, to discounts on memberships and subscriptions, and even exclusive deals on laptops and electronics. Sign up for sites like Student Beans and UNiDAYS to start saving.

Creating good money habits in college will benefit you long after graduation day. Happy budgeting!

Student Life

Testimonial: Tuition Insurance Can Give You a Do Over for College

December 8, 2020

Most colleges and universities don’t provide full refunds for tuition and academic fees. It’s something many students and families don’t find out about until after it’s too late, and their investment in college is lost. That’s how GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance can help in the event of an unexpected medical withdrawal.

Kara first learned about GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance when her son, Andrew, was an incoming freshman at Marist College. She said she wanted to make sure that if anything were to happen that was one of the covered reasons, their big investment in his education wouldn’t be lost. Marist is one of the nearly 400 colleges and universities that rely on GradGuard to protect students from preventable financial losses.

College students and families are smart to have GradGuard

Looking ahead, Kara and Andrew’s decision to purchase tuition insurance was smart. She said her son struggled a little bit the first semester.

“When he went back in the beginning of the spring semester, it became clear that he was not going to be successful, for a variety of mental health issues,” Kara said. “Our first priority was to bring him home, which we did.”

Andrew completed a medical withdraw from school. It was early in the semester, so the family was able to get a partial refund from the school. Then they contacted GradGuard and filed a claim for the balance.

GradGuard provides a refund when schools may not

“The amount that we paid at the beginning of the semester, minus what the school refunded — we got every other cent back from GradGuard,” Kara said. “We were thrilled. That money is for him to pursue his education when he’s ready.”

GradGuard was able to give this family the opportunity for a do over. That’s not something that happens a lot, let alone in college. But when the unexpected happens, GradGuard can help you get back on track. Learn more about how to buy Tuition Insurance for your school using GradGuard’s college search tool.

Questions to ask your college or university:

What will happen to my tuition payment if my college student is forced to withdraw from school due to an illness or even COVID-19?

What is the school’s refund policy?

Do you offer tuition insurance?